Mahler’s Eighth Symphony: Unjustly Neglected?

Leopold Stokowski Conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra in the U.S. premiere of Mahler's Eighth Symphony in 1916.

There’s no other symphony like Gustav Mahler’s Eighth. The piece got its nickname, the “Symphony of a Thousand,” at its 1910 premiere in Munich, which featured 1,030 performers, including 858 singers, 171 instrumentalists and the composer himself on the podium. Although a thousand musicians aren’t normally used these days (300 to 500 is more typical), it’s still a demanding and expensive undertaking, and thus we don’t hear it as often as Mahler’s other nine symphonies. Continue reading “Mahler’s Eighth Symphony: Unjustly Neglected?”

Hollywood’s Diversity Debate Has Echoes in Classical Music

Giancarlo Guerrero conducts the Nashville Symphony (credit: Bill Steber).

The dearth of black actors among this year’s Oscar nominees has triggered what some observers are calling a full-fledged diversity crisis for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, even as the president of the organization has promised change.

Lack of diversity in the arts isn’t just a concern for Hollywood, of course, and there are echoes of this debate in the classical music field. Continue reading “Hollywood’s Diversity Debate Has Echoes in Classical Music”